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Why Using Interchangeable Lenses is the Future of Video

Why Using Interchangeable Lenses is the Future of Video
Every once in a blue moon, a technology announcement goes from the usual to the revolutionary. When recording moving pictures became possible on magnetic video tape, it revolutionized where producers could film, allowed them to view their footage right away, and most of all saved filmmakers a great deal of money. The problem was that it also changed the look and feel of film that many audiences and producers had grown to love. Instead, video had low resolution, bad color reproduction, recorded at 30 fps instead of 24, and worst of all, virtually no depth of field. This gave video a completely different look and unfortunately a distinct ring of low quality to most audiences when they viewed it. Since that time however, much progress has been made toward achieving that film look again. Over time color space improved in video, 24P shooting modes were introduced, and picture resolution increased. Even with all of these improvements, filmmakers realized that there was still one vital thing missing in the pursuit to achieve the look of film: interchangeable lenses. With Sony's announcement of their tiny AVCHD high-definition camcorder with an interchangeable lens system, the revolution of interchangeable lenses has begun. It finally appears that camera manufacturers are taking interchangeable lenses seriously. While some might say it's silly to manufacture a camera that's smaller than its lens, I think that its results speak for itself. All one has to do is look at the beautiful depth of field in the footage that a camera with interchangeable lenses can produce, and it's hard not to be sold on the idea. With a shallow depth of field, even small camcorders can draw your viewer's attention to the area of the screen that is in focus eliminating distractions in the background. This is the reason why interchangeable lenses are so revolutionary. In fact, I would go so far as to say that even cell phone cameras, which can now shoot in 720P, would be better off with an option for a small interchangeable lens system. Just imagine how much money it would save, and the artistic possibilities you could have if you were able to shoot footage on a cell phone that was similar in quality to footage shot on film. It would truly be a revolution. With that being said, I can admittedly see one thing that could spell doom for the interchangeable lens revolution: compatibility. It would be great if camera and lens manufacturers could agree on making a standard for lens mounts on all cameras. I know this is wishful thinking here as companies make a lot of money off the different mounts they sell, but quite honestly, I think these manufacturers should be competing on lens quality and not compatibility. Plus, without a standard, many people would be forced into buying lenses and cameras from just one manufacturer which could put them in a real bind when newer and better equipment comes out from an entirely different manufacturer that does not have a compatible lens mount. Even with these problems though, the ability to shoot on both consumer and prosumer cameras with interchangeable lenses will no doubt have a huge impact on both amateur and professional cinematographers alike. With the ability to shoot with interchangeable lenses, camera manufacturers will have finally won the battle of making video look like film.
May 11th, 2010


youdidntdidyou's picture

surprise no mention of Panasonic's micro four thirds interchangeable lense camcorder announcement, also I thought this would happen see here
gabrielsoares's picture

The interchangeable lenses aren't the real deal, just a consequence. You can put interchangeable lenses in a camcorder with 1/5" CMOS, and remains with that huge depth of field. Large sensors are the real revolution, either with fixed or interchangeable lenses.
Dave Haynie's picture

This kind of camera was inevitable, once DSLRs started doing great video. I'm not surprised it was Panasonic and Sony announcing first.. they're the two real CE companies in the game, as well as currently being two of the three major camcorder companies with feet also in DSLRs. I do wonder what Canon will say. Panasonic's looked a bit prototypey, but Sony's really looks production-worthy, at least in these photos. Panasonic already had the smaller lenses; Sony's now done that, but for APS rather than half-size sensors. This will matter to some... will the cost of the larger glass make or break the full-camcorder version of the DSLR/EVIL cameras, or not? Do you get enough DOF with the Panasonic? Will Canon go APS, or introduce a full EOS mount version? And, most importantly, who's going to deliver the body at lower-end DSLR/EVIL like prices. I want one of these, but not at $6 grand, plus lens. And it should go without saying that this may still be an adjunct to traditional camcorders, not necessarily a replacement. Even with a $1,000 body, you're going to be spending plenty on lenses, just to match the range of a good fixed-lens camcorder. Of course, I already have these EOS lenses. And even more Olympus OM-System lenses. And a few old Leica screw mount, for rangefinders (all made before I was born, I promise). Is this going to mean yet another system camera for me? Ouch!